Six Suspects In The Murder Of Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Killed In Prison
Six suspects in the murder of Ecuadorian presidential candidate killed in prisonin Guayaquil on Friday. The six Colombian individuals were arrested on suspicion of assassinating the candidate in Ecuador's August presidential election. Officials made this announcement but did not provide specific details regarding the circumstances of their deaths.
According to prison authorities, the six prisoners killed at Litoral Penitentiary were the individuals charged with the murder of former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Their names were identified as: Jhon Gregore R., Andrés Manuel M., Adey Fernando G., Camilo Andrés R., Sules Osmini C., and José Neyder L.
Initially, the prison authority reported that "an event occurred inside" the prison resulting in the deaths of six individuals. Litoral Penitentiary is Ecuador's largest prison and has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous, having witnessed several riots with fatalities over the past three years.
These killings took place as the prosecutor's office was nearing the conclusion of its investigation into the murder of Fernando Villavicencio. Villavicencio, a 59-year-old politician and former journalist, was fatally shot on August 9 while leaving a political rally. Although he was not considered a front-runner in the election, his assassination, which occurred in broad daylight less than two weeks before the vote, was a shocking reminder of the rising crime rates in Ecuador.
Villavicencio had reported receiving threats from affiliates of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, one of the many international organized crime groups operating in Ecuador. He was known for his outspoken stance on the connections between organized crime and government officials.
According to reporters, Eduardo Gamarra, a professor of political science at Florida International University, suggested that his candid and vocal stance on certain issues could have played a role in his untimely demise.
And one of the most notorious and prescient things that he said, that he always said, is that it would cost him his life.- Eduardo Gamarra
Ecuador, traditionally renowned as one of the more peaceful nations in South America, is experiencing a troubling shift towards increased violence, danger, and lethality, as noted by Gamarra, an expert in Latin American affairs. He draws parallels between this transformation and Colombia's tumultuous period during the height of the Colombian drug wars in the 1980s and 1990s, when journalists, judges, and even a presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan, fell victim to violence.
Over the past year, Ecuador, historically known for its tranquility, has witnessed a surge in violence attributed to the influx of drug traffickers into the South American nation. This has resulted in a worrisome rise in drug trafficking, violent homicides, and the recruitment of children by criminal gangs.
Following the assassination of Villavicencio, his alleged assailants were apprehended shortly after the crime and detained as a precautionary measure. Additionally, six other individuals have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the incident.
Although authorities have not disclosed specific details about the recent killings that occurred on Friday, local media reports suggest that the incident took place in Pavilion 7. Officials have indicated that this pavilion is under the influence of the local gang known as Los Choneros, led by Adolfo Macías. During his election campaign, Villaviciencio openly accused Macías of being behind threats to his life.
President Guillermo Lasso, currently abroad, conveyed through the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) that he would return to Ecuador to address the unfolding emergency.
"Neither complicity nor cover-up, the truth will be known here," he said.
Ecuador is set to hold a presidential runoff election on October 15, featuring the two leading candidates from the August vote: Luisa González, a leftist candidate, and Daniel Noboa, a former lawmaker and the son of a prominent banana magnate.